Thursday Apr 05, 2007

Comparing Java 3D with jMonkeyEngine

I'm working on a JavaOne project that makes use of the jMonkeyEngine 3D scene graph API commonly referred to as jME.

So far I've found jME to be a pleasure to work with, and am particularly impressed by the founders and community who seem friendly, knowledgeable, and responsive.

But developing a project in jME naturally leads to the question: how does it compare with Java 3D?

Here's my take, based on a couple of months working with jME, and a few discussions with Java 3D folks here.

jME pros:

  • quick to get up to speed
  • great infrastructure for games
  • wonderful community
  • lots of industry support

Jadestone's Hockey Challenge completely written in jME

Java 3D pros:

  • Compatible with both OpenGL and Direct3D (whereas jME supports only OGL)
  • multi-screen support, great for immersive environments, etc. See the Java 3D-enabled CAVE project for an example.
  • much more sophisticated threading model (one thread per display, one thread per behavior)
  • runs on Solaris
  • supports and takes advantage of 64 bit architectures

University of Calgary's Java 3D CAVE Immersive Environment

Java 3D is the basis of some extremely interesting and exciting projects coming out of Sun including Project Wonderland and MPK20. It'll be interesting seeing how both technologies evolve.

Thursday Mar 15, 2007

Sun's Virtual Workspace

I saw a demo last week at the Game Developers Conference that inspired me so much I was pushed to finally get off my butt and leave the "non blogging heathen" ranks (as John Clingan likes to refer to us) and write about it.

The demo in question, MPK20, is Sun's Virtual Workspace, a project out of Sun Labs based on Project DarkStar and the Wonderland scene manager plugin for Project Looking Glass, which is ultimately built on top of Java 3D.

Even though I saw MPK20 at a conference dedicated to gaming, I see it potentially affecting the future of the Internet As We Know It, or more, the future of computer interaction.

As I was watching the demo, I kept having flashes of the future, envisioning how technology like this could impact education, entertainment, commerce, sex, sports, shopping, you name it.

One thing is clear: with technologies like MPK20 and Second Life looming, the days of the web browser are numbered.

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